Q: Ira, Erik Spoelstra really did burn the boats. Look at those minutes. And only seven players. Will they have anything left in the tank for Sunday? -- Artis.
A: You basically answered your own question with the “burn the boats” reference. The last thing Erik Spoelstra was thinking about on Friday night was Sunday night’s Game 6. Because without Friday’s victory, there would have been no Game 6. And without a victory Sunday, there can be no Tuesday Game 7. The Heat will have months of rest headed their way by midweek. So, if everyone remains ambulatory, I very much could expect something similar, with Jimmy Butler getting only 48 seconds of rest on Friday night and three others playing at least 37 minutes. Fatigue is one thing, injury is another. So that could leave the Lakers, with Anthony Davis, with the greater concern. I highly doubt anyone at the moment is complaining about the lack of action Friday for Kelly Olynyk or Derrick Jones Jr.
Q: And his name is Kendrick Nunn. -- David.
A: While that is not exactly in the form of a question, point taken. With Goran Dragic out and Tyler Herro shifted to the starting lineup, it left the Heat lacking in bench scoring. Nunn’s 14 points were essential Friday night, as were his four rebounds and three assists. It was a reminder of what he had accomplished during the regular season, before his COVID-19 infection. As the series is winding down, he could be the rare player who is just getting started.
Q: Sports teams always copy success. Do you think other teams will now try to mimic the Heat’s “culture” blueprint -- such as prioritizing hardnosed, team-first players and employing demanding fitness programs? -- Chris, West Palm Beach.
A: I’m not sure you can quantify it as a Heat blueprint, since some in San Antonio would disagree about where and how the approach started. But it comes down to management and ownership, and what they believe should be a priority. For some teams, it is about creating the most attractive landing spot for a free agent, with not all players into grueling preparation. But, yes, this playoff run certainly has been a heck of an advertisement for the success of the Heat approach.
©2020 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.